Former undisputed middleweight world champion Jermain Taylor (33-4-1, 20KO’s) shocked everybody a few months ago by securing a shot at the IBF middleweight world title against Sam Soliman (44-12, 18KO’s).
He shocked even more people last night. As very few expected and even less predicted, Taylor in the twilight of his career regained a version of the world middleweight title last night over seven years after losing the crown.
Scoring four knockdowns against the seasoned Soliman during the fight, Taylor jubilantly embraced a wide unanimous decision scorecard come the final bell, with judges Fred Steinwinder III, Alfredo Polanco and David Taranto tabling scores of 116-111, 115-109 and 116-109 respectively.
“I heard it before and I’m hearing it again. I’d just like to thank God and I’d like to thank Al Haymon”, Taylor said post fight whilst celebrating the his victory after being asked what is feels like to hear ‘Middleweight champion of the world’.
Since gaining the undisputed middleweight title from boxing legend Bernard Hopkins in 2005, Taylor has had somewhat of a mixed bag career.
Taylor defending his titles with an immediate return against Hopkins in the same year, then successfully followed up with wins against Ronald Wright, Kasim Ouma and Cory Spinks subsequently after.
However, the wheels really started to come off in 2007; back to back defeats against Kelly Pavlik started a run resulting in four defeats in five fights versus Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham up to 2009, with the final defeat to Abraham culminating with a minor bleed on the brain which looked to put paid to the Arkansas fighter’s career for good.
After a 26 month hiatus, “Bad Intentions” managed to get back into the ring after undergoing a string of medical tests to prove his health at the world renown Mayo Clinic and Cleveland’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, ultimately being successful.
The news doesn’t stop there though for the 160 pound bad boy. In August of this year, Taylor was recently charged with two felonies after allegedly shooting his cousin during a domestic dispute at his home in Maumelle.
The win itself was undoubtedly assisted by Soliman, as the Australian fighter injured his knee badly in the seventh round. A strong stiff jab from Taylor put the 41 year old on the seat of his pants, where he appeared to sustain the injury on his way down to the mat. The fight before the incident was close, but few would argue giving the Australian “King” Soliman most of the early rounds.
Falling frequently to the mat during nearly every stanza following, Soliman also conceded four knockdowns before the final bell as the injury destroyed his balance and his ability to fire back with punches of any consequence.
Asked about what is next for the new champion in the ring post fight and maybe a fight with new IBF mandatory Hassan N’Dam or Peter Quillin, Taylor said, “I’ll fight anybody, I’ll fight him [Quillin]. I want whoever Al Haymon puts in there, but I’ve never dodged a fight, I’ve never dodged a challenge in my whole career.”
Soliman remained candid despite the defeat, “I [injured my knee] a little bit in training and I nearly had to pull out. But absolutely no excuses because if he wasn’t as good of a fighter as he was then I would have been able to come away with the goods.”
“The performance you can’t take that away from him. the knee was fresh and fine as I was fighting so it wasn’t an old injury that came back because of bad luck,” Soliman added.
Taylor moves on now to five straight victories since returning in December 2011 and has undoubtedly thrown himself into the mix for some of the biggest fights at 160 pounds.
Also on the card, former world title challenger Andre Dirrell (23-1, 16KO’s) picked up a dominating fourth round stoppage of lightly regarded Nick Brinson (16-3-2, 6KO’s).